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It’s OK To Look At Your Phone At A Broadway Show, If Your Hearing Is Impaired

February 11, 2018·4:55 PM ET
Jeff Lunden

Seventeen Broadway theaters are now using technology that allows deaf and hearing-impaired patrons to see closed captions on their smartphones. Unlike the white smartphone background seen here, the GalaPro app screen is dark.

Jerry Bergman is sitting in the audience at a Broadway matinée performance of The Band’s Visit. Despite the fact that a huge sign above the stage tells the audience in English, Hebrew and Arabic to turn off cellphones, Bergman is keeping his on so he can read closed captions while watching the show.

UK Government Website Offline After Hack Infects Thousands More Worldwide

Thousands of websites globally have been hijacked by code which made computers run cryptocurrency mining software. Sunday 11 February 2018
By Nick Stylianou, Defence & Technology Producer

“The Coinhive script was inserted into a popular third-party accessibility plugin “BrowseAloud” which is used to help blind or partially-sighted people access the web.”

More than 5,000 websites have been hacked to force visitors’ computers to run software that mines a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin.

Users loading the websites of the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Student Loans Company, as well as the council websites for Manchester City, Camden, and Croydon – and even the homepage of the United States Courts – had their computers’ processing power hijacked by hackers.

A Delicate Approach to Restoring Control

08-02-2018
by Industry Update

An Australian startup programme is aiming to tackle lifestyle problems caused by fine motor control issues, an ever-pervasive ailment that dramatically impacts quality-of-life.

Their solution is a hand controller designed to help people with dexterity issues perform daily household functions: the i-boll.

The i-boll, roughly the size of a junior soccer ball, links to a smartphone app to connect with other devices and uses the smartphone’s built-in accelerometer to track movement.

The wireless device is operated with two hands and aims to help people living with cerebral palsy, arthritis, those recovering from a stroke and the elderly to operate smart devices and household appliances.

What It Means to Be Accessible

BookNet Canada
January 19, 2018

Farrah Little and Sabina Iseli-Otto both work at National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), a national digital library of accessible format
materials that works with public libraries and publishers across Canada to ensure equal access to reading materials for all Canadians. They will be leading a workshop at ebookcraft 2018 called
We Tear Apart Your Ebooks: How, why, and what you can do to stop us.

Is literature sustenance? As librarians, we certainly imagine so, and with access to the written word: we grow.

Every writer (we librarians subsequently imagine) writes to inform or change the life of another. Why else share a story? Why else be human?

Tech Firm’s Powerful Vision Brings Sight to the Legally Blind

A woman uses eSight’s headset to watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at an event in November. Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Many small businesses establish vision statements that detail their objectives and strategies. Toronto-based eSight Corp., however, gives the concept new meaning.

The company, which makes and sells sophisticated electronic glasses that restore sight to the legally blind, is committed to making blindness history. That mission permeates its research efforts, sales culture and long-term business strategy.

“We’re able, as an organization, to set a vision to live in a world where everyone can see, and to execute that vision in a nimble and pragmatic way,” says Jeffrey Fenton, the company’s director of communications. This mission guides the affordability, distribution, technology and international strategies that have brought eSight attention from around the world.

President’s Message: Nationwide Class Action Challenges Hulu’s Discrimination Against Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals

by Kim Charlson
The ACB Braille Forum Volume LVI, No. 7, January 2018

ACB is very pleased to be working with Disability Rights Advocates, the Disability Law Center, and our affiliate the Bay State Council of the Blind on this case that will bring even more access to streamed television and film content than ever before.

On Nov. 20th, in Boston, a complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on behalf of the larger class of people who are blind or visually impaired. Here are the details.

CTA Foundation Announces Accessibility Award Winners, Exhibitors, Programming at CES 2018

December 21, 2017

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation, a national organization with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives, announced today accessibility-related programming and exhibits at CES® 2018.

Owned and produced by CTA, CES is the global stage for innovation and will take place January 9-12 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Whether it is in IoT, smart homes, robotics, health and fitness, vehicle tech, smart cities or any of the other innovative, breakthrough technologies at CES, were excited to see technology enabling independence for people of all ages and abilities across the show.

DOJ Nixes All Pending ADA Rulemakings, Including Website Access Rules

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Justice Department withdraws pending rulemakings for accessible websites, furniture and non-fixed equipment.

The current Department of Justice’s (DOJ) regulatory approach to Title III of the ADA is yet another example of what a difference an election can make.

In 2010, the DOJ started the rulemaking process to issue new regulations about the websites of public accommodations and state and local governments, as well as non-fixed equipment and furniture used in public accommodations. In July of this year, the DOJ placed these rulemakings on the “inactive list”. On December 26, 2017, these rulemakings will officially be withdrawn.

Accessible Technology Program

From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The new Accessible Technology Program will co-fund innovative projects led by the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and research institutes to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies.

It will invest $22.3 million over 5 years, starting in 2017-18 to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to more fully participate in the digital economy.

Background

The Program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, and aims to facilitate and encourage the participation of under-represented groups in the digital economy by investing in initiatives that provide them with the necessary tools, access and skills to participate.

Making Digital Technologies More Accessible to Canadians With Disabilities

News provided by
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

$22.3-million program will help Canadians with disabilities fully participate in the digital economy

OTTAWA, Dec. 6, 2017 /CNW/ – As a result of a new $22.3-million program, more Canadians with disabilities will have access to the digital tools they need to fully participate in society and get access to the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today launched the Accessible Technology Program, a new program that, over the next five years, will co-fund innovative projects to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies.

Section 508 Gets an Update: New Web Accessibility Guidelines for Government Sites Take Effect in January

People with hearing and sight disabilities using screen readers and other assistive tech must be able to access content on government websites, but getting and staying compliant is a challenge. by Zack Quaintance / November 20, 2017

Updates for Section 508 accessibility legislation go into effect in January, creating new specifications for how federal agencies must make websites and other digital information channels navigable for users with disabilities, and experts say these requirements are poised to become the new standard for state and local governments as well.

Court: Movie Theatres Must Accommodate Deaf-Blind Patrons

The Associated Press,, Financial Post, 10,06, 2017.

Federal disability law requires movie theatres to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest movie chain, in a case involving a Pennsylvania man
who wanted to see the 2014 movie “Gone Girl” and asked a Cinemark theatre in Pittsburgh to supply a “tactile interpreter.” The theatre denied his request.

The plaintiff, Paul McGann, is a movie enthusiast who reads American Sign Language through touch. He uses a method of tactile interpretation that involves
placing his hands over the hands of an interpreter who uses sign language to describe the movie’s action, dialogue and even the audience response.

DOJ Halts Plan to Create Website Accessibility Regulations

Careers sites, applications must still be accessible to candidates with disabilities, advocates say By Roy Maurer
Sep 25, 2017

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had planned to write regulations for employers to follow to make sure their websites are accessible and readable by people with disabilities, but no more.

The DOJ has moved the regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to its “inactive list,” leaving private employers with an unclear standard for compliance at a time when ADA lawsuits focused on websitesincluding careers sitesare proliferating.

ADA website accessibility regulations under Title II (for state and local governments) and Title III (for businesses open to the public) had been planned for 2017 and 2018, respectively, before the DOJ marked them as inactive.

Another Court Finds That Accessibility Rules Apply to Retail Websites

Last month we told you that a court in Florida had ordered the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain to make its websites accessible to persons with vision impairments by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 standards (WCAG 2.0). This month, another court has weighed in.

In an opinion published on September 6, 2017 (but issued earlier on July 31, 2017), Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Southern District of New York ruled that a retail website was a place of public accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (as well as under state and local law) and therefore the owner the website had to take the steps necessary to ensure that the blind have full and equal enjoyment of its website provided that taking such steps would not impose an undue burden on Blick or fundamentally alter the website. Andrews v. Blick Art Materials, LLC, 17-CV-767, NYLJ 1202797331595, at *15 (EDNY, Decided July 31, 2017).

UAE Students Invent Photo-to-Braille Translator; To Make Reading Easier for Visually Impaired

Portable reading device developed by students at UAE University in Al Ain can translate written material into Braille Sami Zaatari,
Gulf News, Sept. 8, 2017

Abu Dhabi: An innovative student-led project at the UAE University in Al Ain is hoping to make reading easier for visually impaired people by developing a pocket-sized portable device that can translate reading materials into Braille.

The device, which is still in its prototype stage, has a built-in camera that can be used to take photos of any type of reading material, which is then converted into Braille, allowing a visually impaired person to read at any time they want.

Government of Canada Supports Greater Accessibility in Public Consultation Forums for People with Speech and Language Disabilities

GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 31, 2017 /CNW/ – Communications Disabilities Access Canada, a national not-for-profit organization, will make public consultation forums more accessible to Canadians who have speech and language disabilities.

Today, the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced the launch of this initiative, funded through the disability component of the Social Development Partnerships Program.

A more inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians are given equal opportunity to contribute to their communities and share their views on the social and economic issues that affect their lives. This is why the Government of Canada is committed to support innovative accessibility projects that reduce barriers for people with disabilities and improve their participation and integration into all aspects of society.

Obtaining Accessible Cable Television: A Frustrating Experience

Janet Ingber

At the AccessWorld Tech Summit in March 2017, part of the American Foundation for the Blind’s annual Leadership Conference, I was so excited while listening to a presentation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about accessible devices including cable boxes. I figured I could call my cable company when I got home and get an accessible cable box. I was wrong.

FCC Regulations Summary for Accessible Cable Boxes

The FCC conference presenters were Suzy Rosen Singleton, Chief, and Will Schell, Attorney-Advisor, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. They focused on access to video description.

NASA Paves A Way for People Who are Blind to Experience A Total Solar Eclipse

Aug 17, 2017

app screenshot On August 21, 2017, just a few days away, the United States of America will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse. Said to be an unforgettable experience, many people plan to descend upon this path of totality and view complete darkness.

But what about those who will not be able to “see” this event NASA now has a solution. The Eclipse Soundscapes Project by NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium will help deliver a multisensory experience of this celestial event.

Committed to Technology Equality for People with Disabilities

July 26, 2017
Written by: Dr. Ruoyi Zhou

The year 2017 will be remembered as a major milestone in the relationship between technology and equality.

Earlier this year, updates were finally approved to the Section 508 Amendment of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that transformed turn-of-the-century accessibility guidelines for procurement and services of the U.S. federal government to encompass modern challenges and solutions. This new set of requirements provides organizations with a roadmap toward creating inclusive technologies that can benefit all individuals, including people with disabilities.

A Robot to Help Visually Impaired Schoolchildren Find Their Way

03.07.17 – Summer series students works:

Alexandre Foucqueteau has taught Cellulo, a little hand-sized robot, how to help visually impaired children find their bearings and avoid obstacles in the classroom.

For his semester project, Alexandre Foucqueteau came up with a new application for a little multifunctional robot called Cellulo. Created at EPFL two years ago in a collaboration between the Computer-Human Interaction Lab for Learning & Instrution (CHILI) and the Robotic Systems Laboratory (LSRO) with the support of NCCR Robotics, the robot can now help visually impaired children get around their classroom. The child moves the little robot around a map of the room. When the robot bumps virtually into something, such as a table or the teacher’s desk, it can recognize the object. That may sound like a piece of cake, but getting a tablet to interact with the robot and recognize the objects was actually quite complex.